|<< Deut 10|
|This is the New King James text of the passages.|
Deuteronomy 11-13 Listen
Love and serve the Lord...or else! (Deuteronomy 11)
1 “Therefore you shall love the LORD your God, and keep His charge, His statutes, His judgments, and His commandments always.
2 Know today that I do not speak with your children, who have not known and who have not seen the chastening of the LORD your God, His greatness and His mighty hand and His outstretched arm—
3 His signs and His acts which He did in the midst of Egypt, to Pharaoh king of Egypt, and to all his land;
4 what He did to the army of Egypt, to their horses and their chariots: how He made the waters of the Red Sea overflow them as they pursued you, and how the LORD has destroyed them to this day;
5 what He did for you in the wilderness until you came to this place;
6 and what He did to Dathan and Abiram the sons of Eliab, the son of Reuben: how the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, their households, their tents, and all the substance that was in their possession, in the midst of all Israel—
7 but your eyes have seen every great act of the LORD which He did.
8 ¶ “Therefore you shall keep every commandment which I command you today, that you may be strong, and go in and possess the land which you cross over to possess,
9 and that you may prolong your days in the land which the LORD swore to give your fathers, to them and their descendants, “a land flowing with milk and honey.’
10 For the land which you go to possess is not like the land of Egypt from which you have come, where you sowed your seed and watered it by foot, as a vegetable garden;
11 but the land which you cross over to possess is a land of hills and valleys, which drinks water from the rain of heaven,
12 a land for which the LORD your God cares; the eyes of the LORD your God are always on it, from the beginning of the year to the very end of the year.
13 ¶ “And it shall be that if you earnestly obey My commandments which I command you today, to love the LORD your God and serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul,
14 then I will give you the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the latter rain, that you may gather in your grain, your new wine, and your oil.
15 And I will send grass in your fields for your livestock, that you may eat and be filled.’
16 Take heed to yourselves, lest your heart be deceived, and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them,
17 lest the LORD’S anger be aroused against you, and He shut up the heavens so that there be no rain, and the land yield no produce, and you perish quickly from the good land which the LORD is giving you.
18 ¶ “Therefore you shall lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.
19 You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.
20 And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates,
21 that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land of which the LORD swore to your fathers to give them, like the days of the heavens above the earth.
22 ¶ “For if you carefully keep all these commandments which I command you to do—to love the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways, and to hold fast to Him—
23 then the LORD will drive out all these nations from before you, and you will dispossess greater and mightier nations than yourselves.
24 Every place on which the sole of your foot treads shall be yours: from the wilderness and Lebanon, from the river, the River Euphrates, even to the Western Sea, shall be your territory.
25 No man shall be able to stand against you; the LORD your God will put the dread of you and the fear of you upon all the land where you tread, just as He has said to you.
26 ¶ “Behold, I set before you today a blessing and a curse:
27 the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you today;
28 and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside from the way which I command you today, to go after other gods which you have not known.
29 Now it shall be, when the LORD your God has brought you into the land which you go to possess, that you shall put the blessing on Mount Gerizim and the curse on Mount Ebal.
30 Are they not on the other side of the Jordan, toward the setting sun, in the land of the Canaanites who dwell in the plain opposite Gilgal, beside the terebinth trees of Moreh?
31 For you will cross over the Jordan and go in to possess the land which the LORD your God is giving you, and you will possess it and dwell in it.
32 And you shall be careful to observe all the statutes and judgments which I set before you today.
Great land - rain when you need rain - a great life...if you obey God's law when you possess the land over Jordan - that's the positive part of the overview of chapter 11. But what if you disobey? Well...remember back in Exodus 14 (see notes) how much trouble the Egyptians had crossing the Red Sea (verse 4)? And you must also recall in Numbers 16:20-50 (see notes) how Dathan and Abiram were swallowed up in the earth (verse 6). Just worship God exclusively and you'll be blessed (11-15). Fall away from God and...well...you don't even want God at odds with you (verses 16-17)! That's the negative part of chapter 11. Then we have the emphasis of 18-21 mentioned again. HERE'S HOW YOU RAISE CHILDREN - REPETITION, REPETITION, REPETITION on the important things. It's the Shema from Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (see notes) restated all over again with the same emphasis. If you need a refresher on the place of the Shema in daily Jewish life, do make certain to read the commentary on Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (see notes).
Incidentally, verse 14 is specific in referencing "the first rain" (the fall rain) and "the latter rain" (the spring rain). Sufficient rain during these two periods of time created an ideal sowing and harvesting season.
We have a restatement of national territories again in verse 24. There's no question that God gave Canaan to the Jews. And...by the way...there's no indication whatsoever that he awarded the WEST BANK for Israel's enemies to possess. Let's notice again the northern boundary - the Euphrates River.
A point of clarification is in order here regarding Israel's new boundaries. Take note of Genesis 15:18 (see notes), "On the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying: 'To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates.'" That's from the Nile to the Euphrates. That passage has caused some confusion because the tribes of Israel did not inhabit all of that land when they arrived in the Book of Joshua, nor is that large of a land survey specified in this passage. However, later on King David apparently did control the territory all the way over to the Euphrates. We see this in I Chronicles 18:3 (see notes) "And David defeated Hadadezer king of Zobah as far as Hamath, as he went to establish his power by the River Euphrates." A similar statement is found in II Samuel 8:3 (see notes). So, while the Israelites did not choose to live that far away, nonetheless David's kingdom and control extended to that point, thus fulfilling the promise God made to Abraham in Genesis 15:18 (see notes). So...to put it more succinctly, Israel's living area was smaller than the actual kingdom area would be when the covenant with Abraham would be fulfilled under King David.
Take note of the map to get an overview of the territory included in the Abrahamic Covenant and later controlled during King David's reign.
There are some fascinating verses at the end of this chapter regarding the blessing on Mount Gerizim and the curse on Mount Ebal. These blessings/curses will be shouted from atop these two mountains. The wording for these blessings and curses are found in Deuteronomy 28 (see notes), which is a repeat of what was proclaimed to Israel in Leviticus 26 (see notes). Obey God and everything will be perpetually great. Later we'll see the Levites standing in the middle of these two half-mile high mounts while reading the blessings and cursings of the law REALLY LOUDLY. Half of the 2,000,000+ people will stand on Mount Ebal and the other half on Mount Gerizim responding REALLY LOUDLY - Ebal when the curses are read and Gerizim when the blessings are read. What a sight! It's mentioned again in Deuteronomy 27 (see notes) and carried out in Joshua 8 (see notes). It must have been a sight for their enemies to hear 2,000,000+ people respond in unison to the reading of God's law (WHAT A PRAISE TEAM!). Obviously their objective won't be a sneak attack! Intimidation...maybe, but not a sneak attack.
Worship in the new land God's way! (Deuteronomy 12)
1 “These are the statutes and judgments which you shall be careful to observe in the land which the LORD God of your fathers is giving you to possess, all the days that you live on the earth.
2 You shall utterly destroy all the places where the nations which you shall dispossess served their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree.
3 And you shall destroy their altars, break their sacred pillars, and burn their wooden images with fire; you shall cut down the carved images of their gods and destroy their names from that place.
4 You shall not worship the LORD your God with such things.
5 ¶ “But you shall seek the place where the LORD your God chooses, out of all your tribes, to put His name for His dwelling place; and there you shall go.
6 There you shall take your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, the heave offerings of your hand, your vowed offerings, your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks.
7 And there you shall eat before the LORD your God, and you shall rejoice in all to which you have put your hand, you and your households, in which the LORD your God has blessed you.
8 ¶ “You shall not at all do as we are doing here today—every man doing whatever is right in his own eyes—
9 for as yet you have not come to the rest and the inheritance which the LORD your God is giving you.
10 But when you cross over the Jordan and dwell in the land which the LORD your God is giving you to inherit, and He gives you rest from all your enemies round about, so that you dwell in safety,
11 then there will be the place where the LORD your God chooses to make His name abide. There you shall bring all that I command you: your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, the heave offerings of your hand, and all your choice offerings which you vow to the LORD.
12 And you shall rejoice before the LORD your God, you and your sons and your daughters, your male and female servants, and the Levite who is within your gates, since he has no portion nor inheritance with you.
13 Take heed to yourself that you do not offer your burnt offerings in every place that you see;
14 but in the place which the LORD chooses, in one of your tribes, there you shall offer your burnt offerings, and there you shall do all that I command you.
15 ¶ “However, you may slaughter and eat meat within all your gates, whatever your heart desires, according to the blessing of the LORD your God which He has given you; the unclean and the clean may eat of it, of the gazelle and the deer alike.
16 Only you shall not eat the blood; you shall pour it on the earth like water.
17 You may not eat within your gates the tithe of your grain or your new wine or your oil, of the firstborn of your herd or your flock, of any of your offerings which you vow, of your freewill offerings, or of the heave offering of your hand.
18 But you must eat them before the LORD your God in the place which the LORD your God chooses, you and your son and your daughter, your male servant and your female servant, and the Levite who is within your gates; and you shall rejoice before the LORD your God in all to which you put your hands.
19 Take heed to yourself that you do not forsake the Levite as long as you live in your land.
20 ¶ “When the LORD your God enlarges your border as He has promised you, and you say, ‘Let me eat meat,’ because you long to eat meat, you may eat as much meat as your heart desires.
21 If the place where the LORD your God chooses to put His name is too far from you, then you may slaughter from your herd and from your flock which the LORD has given you, just as I have commanded you, and you may eat within your gates as much as your heart desires.
22 Just as the gazelle and the deer are eaten, so you may eat them; the unclean and the clean alike may eat them.
23 Only be sure that you do not eat the blood, for the blood is the life; you may not eat the life with the meat.
24 You shall not eat it; you shall pour it on the earth like water.
25 You shall not eat it, that it may go well with you and your children after you, when you do what is right in the sight of the LORD.
26 Only the holy things which you have, and your vowed offerings, you shall take and go to the place which the LORD chooses.
27 And you shall offer your burnt offerings, the meat and the blood, on the altar of the LORD your God; and the blood of your sacrifices shall be poured out on the altar of the LORD your God, and you shall eat the meat.
28 Observe and obey all these words which I command you, that it may go well with you and your children after you forever, when you do what is good and right in the sight of the LORD your God.
29 ¶ “When the LORD your God cuts off from before you the nations which you go to dispossess, and you displace them and dwell in their land,
30 take heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed from before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, “How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise.’
31 You shall not worship the LORD your God in that way; for every abomination to the LORD which He hates they have done to their gods; for they burn even their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods.
32 ¶ “Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it.
Here we have a monotheistic nation (Israel) moving into a land that has been dominated by polytheistic culture. Since the Hebrews will come across many heathen places of worship, God establishes in this passage that the Hebrews will have only one place for making sacrifices. Those Canaanites had some interesting ways of worshiping their many gods. Steer clear of those heathen practices. Rid the land of those outdoor shrines, sacred stones and Asherah poles; it's all very, very evil. Notice verse 13, "Take heed to yourself that you do not offer your burnt offerings in every place that you see." When they get to Canaan, God will appoint a place to worship. That place will be at the tabernacle itself; it was placed in Shiloh in Joshua 18:1-10 (see notes) after the Hebrews moved into Canaan and remained there for the next 200 years or so. Take special note of what God is doing among the Jews here. By centralizing worship at the Tabernacle in a single place, God heads off the temptation of the Israelites to adopt the polytheistic practices of the heathen they are ejecting from the land. If those widely distributed pagan altars are not destroyed, the Israelites will start using them - hard to believe, but true. Through the centuries on many occasions we see the Israelites picking up worship of the pagan idols worshipped by the heathen people around them.
Moses alludes to a promise from God in verse 9 when he says, "for as yet you have not come to the rest and the inheritance which the LORD your God is giving you." One might very well wonder when that "rest...which the LORD your God is giving" is actually realized by the nation of Israel. In fact, we see Solomon's declaration that this "rest" has been realized in his dedicatory prayer at the temple in Jerusalem in I Kings 8:56 (see notes).
Remember how they had all that livestock in the wilderness, but were not permitted to eat from their herds at will? (Click here to see this discussion on Leviticus 17.) Well, when they possess their land, they will be permitted to eat from their herds whenever they want (verse 15), and they will no longer be required to do so as a process of sacrificing a peace offering with the assistance of a priest. We see that the sacrificial process is still to be intact (verses 14, 17-19), but that will no longer be the only scenario where one can indulge in a nice juicy steak dinner (well done, naturally). Moreover, they'll be able to eat other meats that are clean, but not designated appropriate for sacrifice. But remember, NO BLOOD! WARNING: God will appoint a place for the sacrifice when you arrive; do it only there! Notice the precautions being taken to insure that Israel does not fall into those heathen worship practices of the previous inhabitants of Canaan. Keep in mind, all of these issues are being thoroughly stated to the people before they actually enter Canaan.
The reference to the Levite in verse 19 might seem somewhat out of place, but not really. The peace offering of Leviticus 3 (see notes) was the sacrifice one made where he took some of the meat home and left some for the priest and his family. That had to be done at the Tabernacle. When they possess their new land, who's gonna walk 100 miles to the Tabernacle to sacrifice an animal so they can have steak for supper? That's why they are told in this passage that this trip will no longer be necessary. So...what about the Levite? He apparently was the beneficiary of some of this peace-offering meat as well. Verse 19 would seem to indicate that, though the peace offering no longer needs to be made at the Tabernacle, meat is still to be shared with the Levite.
One other abominable practice of the Canaanites that is mentioned here is that of human sacrifice in verse 31, "You shall not worship the LORD your God in that way; for every abomination to the LORD which He hates they have done to their gods; for they burn even their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods." We see this prohibition clearly stated in Leviticus 18:21 (see notes), a heathen practice of sacrificing their children on the altar of their pagan god, Molech. How could a society sink to the level where they have no regard for human life, especially that of a child - no respect for the sanctity of life.
Freedom of religion? NOT! (Deuteronomy 13)
1 “If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder,
2 and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, “Let us go after other gods’—which you have not known—‘and let us serve them,’
3 you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the LORD your God is testing you to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
4 You shall walk after the LORD your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice; you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him.
5 But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has spoken in order to turn you away from the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of bondage, to entice you from the way in which the LORD your God commanded you to walk. So you shall put away the evil from your midst.
6 ¶ “If your brother, the son of your mother, your son or your daughter, the wife of your bosom, or your friend who is as your own soul, secretly entices you, saying, ‘Let us go and serve other gods,’ which you have not known, neither you nor your fathers,
7 of the gods of the people which are all around you, near to you or far off from you, from one end of the earth to the other end of the earth,
8 you shall not consent to him or listen to him, nor shall your eye pity him, nor shall you spare him or conceal him;
9 but you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people.
10 And you shall stone him with stones until he dies, because he sought to entice you away from the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.
11 So all Israel shall hear and fear, and not again do such wickedness as this among you.
12 ¶ “If you hear someone in one of your cities, which the LORD your God gives you to dwell in, saying,
13 “Corrupt men have gone out from among you and enticed the inhabitants of their city, saying, ‘Let us go and serve other gods” ’—which you have not known—
14 then you shall inquire, search out, and ask diligently. And if it is indeed true and certain that such an abomination was committed among you,
15 you shall surely strike the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, utterly destroying it, all that is in it and its livestock—with the edge of the sword.
16 And you shall gather all its plunder into the middle of the street, and completely burn with fire the city and all its plunder, for the LORD your God. It shall be a heap forever; it shall not be built again.
17 So none of the accursed things shall remain in your hand, that the LORD may turn from the fierceness of His anger and show you mercy, have compassion on you and multiply you, just as He swore to your fathers,
18 because you have listened to the voice of the LORD your God, to keep all His commandments which I command you today, to do what is right in the eyes of the LORD your God.
When you get to the new land, only service to the ONE TRUE GOD will be tolerated. The penalty for deviation? DEATH! For whom? ANYONE! HEBREW OR STRANGER! Any so-called prophet who would turn people away from the one true God is to be put to death (verse 5). Moreover, apostasy is not to be tolerated...period, and all the people will be responsible for the execution of the apostate...even if it is a relative (verse 6) - your wife even! Look at verse 9, "but you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people." Literally, God despises apostasy!
Notice at the end of the chapter the command to destroy apostate cities and burn the spoil. With all of this emphasis on avoiding apostasy, centuries later the fall of Israel (II Kings 17, see notes) would follow a pattern of drifting away from this mandate with a subsequent diluting of their commitment to the One True God, a tolerance for diversity, a loss of national pride. Finally we see Israel's demise followed by the fall of the Northern Tribes in 721 B.C. (II Kings 17, see notes) and the Southern Kingdom in 586 B.C. (II Kings 24, see notes) DO YOU SEE A CONTEMPORARY PARALLEL HERE?
The subject of punishment for false worship is also dealt with in Deuteronomy 17:1-7 (see notes).